1. ITV Report

Restoration of Aberglasney House in Carmarthenshire begins

The mansion in ruins, circa 1970. It has since been partially restored, with more work beginning today Photo: Aberglasney Restoration Trust

Work to restore a Grade II listed mansion at Aberglasney Gardens in Carmarthenshire will begin today.

Aberglasney House has existed on the site since at least the 15th century and has had a succession of owners over the years.

But its origins are shrouded in mystery, as historians have never been able to pinpoint the exact date it was built.

The North Lawn in 1870 Credit: Aberglasney Restoration Trust

The project will see the main hall restored, the grand staircase reinstated and the interior of the East Wing renovated.

Llanelli-based architects the Lewis Partnership drew up the plans, with contractors John Weavers of Swansea carrying out the work.

The restoration work at Aberglasney is part of the 'One Historic Garden Project' linking heritage, gardens and opportunities across South Wales.

The project is part-funded by the EU's Convergence European Regional Development Fund through Visit Wales and the Welsh Government.

It is hoped that the work will be completed around Easter next year.

The very fact that this work is being carried out is an indication of the desire of our charitable trust to build on the success of the gardens as a centre for excellence in heritage gardening, as well as to enhance the aesthetic beauty of the gardens for the enjoyment of our visitors.

– Roger Evans, Aberglasney Restoration Trust
  • 500 years ago the bard Lewis Glyn Cothi wrote of 'nine green gardens' as well as 'orchards, vines and oaks' in the parish of Llangathen. Historians say it's highly likely he was singing the praises of an important dwelling that stood where Aberglasney is now
  • 1600s - Yorkshireman Bishop Rudd is credited with rebuilding the house
  • 1700s - Poet John Dyer wrote affectionately of Aberglasney and attracted flocks of tourists to the Towy Valley
  • 1872 - The house was passed to the Mayhew family, with Colonel Mayhew remembered for his fierce teetotalism. One of Aberglasney's legends is that the family emptied the contents of the well-stocked cellar into the pool. Later owners dredging the pool claim to have found a handful of bottles
  • During World War II the mansion was home to American troops because, like most big houses, it was commandeered
  • 1955 - The estate was split up and several tenant farmers acquired the land they had formerly rented. Carmarthen lawyer David Charles bought the house and farm, but the house remained unoccupied and the property fell into further decay
  • 1977 - Another sale took place, fragmenting the estate further. The task to repair the house became too great, with vandalism and theft eventually prompting legal action
  • 1995 - Fortunes were reversed when the house and gardens were sold to the Aberglasney Restoration Trust